The Politics Of Birth Control: Why My Uterus Is None Of Your Business
I was a late bloomer in the birth control game. During my freshmanÂ year of college, I scheduled an appointment at my campus clinic andÂ received my first Depo shot. Since I regularly forgot to take myÂ vitamins, I didnâ€™t trust myself to remember a pill at the same timeÂ every day. And while Iâ€™m sure that itâ€™s a perfectly wonderful form ofÂ protection, wearing a patch around proclaiming my â€œcontrolledâ€ statusÂ felt awkward. So I went with the shot. It felt like a very grown-upÂ decision and I was proud to be making it. I was still a virgin, but IÂ appreciated knowing that I would be safe and ready should the timeÂ come when I chose to have sex. This was a personal decision for meÂ that I made as a mature young woman, and I extremely grateful that IÂ was given the opportunity to make that choice for myself.
The choice to get birth control seemed like a private matter. As muchÂ as I love and trust my parents, I didnâ€™t discuss this decision withÂ them. It was mine to make. And Iâ€™ve always felt like reproductiveÂ health is a personal choice. Which is why itâ€™s so disturbing to seeÂ birth control, and a womanâ€™s right to make her own choices about herÂ reproductive health, under attack. In this extremely conservativeÂ political primary, the choice to take birth control, a choice thatÂ most women of my generation take for granted, is suddenly up forÂ debate again.
A lot of the conversation around birth control circles the variousÂ â€œPersonhood Amendmentsâ€ that are being voted on in states across theÂ country this year. Itâ€™s the same amendment that was recently votedÂ down in Mississippi, but is still fighting for approval in states likeÂ Nevada, Arkansas and Colorado. Personhood claims that human lifeÂ starts at conception, every fertilized egg is a human being that mustÂ protected under the law. While many pro-life activists support thisÂ cause because it would effectively end all abortion in the country,Â the wider implications of these bills seems to be lost. Either that,Â or birth control is not nearly as widely accepted as I thought.
Some types of birth control work, not by keeping a woman fromÂ releasing eggs, but stopping the implantation of those eggs in theÂ uterine wall. It means that thereâ€™s a possibility of a fertilized eggÂ being lost during a womanâ€™s monthly period. Any birth control thatÂ works in this way would be illegal once a Personhood amendment passed.Â And letâ€™s not even get started on itâ€™s extreme effect on in vitroÂ fertilization for couples who are actively trying to conceive.
My husband comes from an extremely traditional Catholic family. MoreÂ than once, weâ€™ve discussed birth control and the Churchâ€™s views on contraception. Unsurprisingly, they arenâ€™t all in agreement with myÂ decisions to use birth control at various times in my life. However,Â they would never attempt to make that decision for me. They allÂ recognize that itâ€™s a personal choice I need to make, weighing myÂ faith and the Churchâ€™s teaching with my own beliefs and needs. WhatÂ can I say, I have an amazingly supportive family. But they canâ€™t denyÂ that they fundamentally oppose the use of birth control. And by theÂ way, neither can one of the primary Presidential candidates currentlyÂ surging in the polls. Thatâ€™s right, in an October interview, RickÂ Santorum publicly announced his disapproval of birth control.